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A month before I went to The Journey, a friend asked me how I am going to provide care for the little boy (aka BabyCabs in the previous post). The conversation scoured the depths of sadness and weaved through thoughts of hope and how to provide care. “D” mentioned to me how even in his 60s, he is learning the importance of how to see where he needs care and how the childhood messages and trauma still resonate in his body. In the days and weeks after this conversation, I wondered what would provide kindness when I have triggers or feel dysregulated and undone.

As I considered my question of whether I was held by my birth mom, I wondered what would allow me to feel held like an infant. Other than long embraces, I don’t know anyone willing to hold my 220 lb. body like an infant. Andre the Giant has long past and he is the only human I think who could easily do it. So, I “settled” for buying a hammock. Years passed since I last was able to relax in one. There is history to that. In Michigan, when the boys were a lot smaller, I would occasionally hang my last hammock between two trees in the front yard. They would often want to come and climb in, which always turned into chaos. Squirming, readjusting, jostling for position, and then potentially fighting all turned the calm upside down, and might have once or twice turned the hammock upside down. I don’t remember trying to get in hammock since I have been back in Texas (since fall of 2017).

Close Enough to The Womb

While somedays the pain and sadness of this world makes me want to crawl back in the womb, I know I cannot. That’s probably a little how Nicodemus felt when Jesus talked of being born again (how in the world do I get back in there and come back out?). Sorry, that was the squirrel in my brain there. For me, the hammock has been close enough to the womb and close enough to being held. My body and my weight is contained and comforted by something thin but strong, so I can feel the air move, hear leaves rustle, and gaze at the sky in relative peace. It is often difficult to get my body to relax. There have been places and times where it has happened, but alone, it is often a battle to settle and sink into restfulness.

This hammock is becoming the place where I am able to do this. Many naps have taken place there, although none were intentional. They just happened. This is also a place where Sawyer is developing connection that I felt should have happened for him in his younger years. He missed out on a lot as Wyatt was struggling and required so much energy and attention. Nearly a couple of weeks ago I wrote on FB about this surprise moment.

Last night, I told Sawyer “I’m heading outside to lay in the hammock.” About 20 or 30 minutes later, I heard the door open and he walks up and asks “is there room in there?” There was. As we chilled in the hammock, he brought up a memory of swinging on a piece of exercise equipment right in the spot where the hammock is now. I reminded him of video of me spraying him with the water hose while he was swinging, so we watched that. And then a video of him with steam rising off him after a hot shower in a cold cabin or him playing guitar and screaming “we will rock you!” Then a video of him climbing to the top of a rope in gymnastics. Eventually, we made it to a video from the morning of his 5th birthday, which was tremendously sweet because his big brother was very tender to him that morning (3-4 minutes of nostalgic bliss there).

Sawyer said he wished he could go back, not to change anything, but just to experience some things again. I agreed with him. He said “I would take that over a billion dollars.” I said “me too, buddy. Me too.” It is easy to get hard times and events stuck in my head, but it was a sweet reminder that there have been some really beautiful things that I would experience over and over again if I could.

Close Enough to Time Travel

Several days later, the weather seemed like it would cooperate again for me to go outside. Sawyer was sitting in his very common position in front of the tv, and I said I was going outside to lay in the hammock. He immediately declared, “I’m coming with you.” [Interesting timing: this was a matter of minutes after I posted my BabyCabs post] Well, alrighty then, I will have company. Once we got settled, I started talking to him about how for me this feels like a chance to give him some good attention that he missed out on when he was younger. He was curious why it didn’t happen as much as I hoped when he was smaller. I talked about some of my physical pain and how much I was struggling in general and about some of Wyatt’s needs at the time. Then, I reminded him of his words from a few night before, when he said he would like to go back and experience things again. I told him this is a chance for me to do that with him.

He tucked his head down into my chest, right over my heart, and hugged me. We both must have needed something that peaceful, because it quickly went from 9pm to 11pm. I heard the front door open and Wyatt had come out to take pictures of the moon. It woke me up, so I tapped Sawyer to wake him up. He woke up with wild eyes wondering where he was. Yep, we dozed off for two hours in the hammock on a Saturday night. We are wild ones!

As I have been learning to provide some care to myself, an unexpected side-effect is watching Sawyer soften up with me. For a long while, his little body was in serious fight or flight mode, accompanied by big outbursts of screaming and yelling. I remember the last one that he had with me, but that has nearly been two months now. As he gets connection with me, his volatility has decreased. It is a short window of time to consider it a total success. However, all I know is that requests to do something simple like pick up his trash and throw it away aren’t met with over the top responses. He isn’t in fight or flight all the time. He is more settled. My hammock in the front yard has become a time travel machine for me to care for “that little BabyCabs” in a sense, and it is allowing me a re-do on connecting with Sawyer. I am unbelievably grateful.


  1. Avatar DCabs

    Judy Teaney

    Darin, I’ve known you for a long time. You have always had questions about life. I wish this had happened sooner for you, but as we know God guides us through life.
    A suggestion for you is this- buy yourself a stuffed animal. Refer to it as “Babycabs”, snuggle up with it .
    You see, Little J and I had to do that to connect. As a child I felt very neglected, but I won’t get into that. This is your story.

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